ELBURN—The Elburn Food Pantry is just one of the 20 food pantry recipients of donations from Kane County Farm Bureau members.
The Farm Bureau, through its Harvest for All and other hunger relief programs, has recently surpassed its goal of providing the equivalent of 1 million meals to local food pantries and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. As of Dec. 10, the number reached 1,092,781 meals, according to Farm Bureau representative Ryan Klassy.
The Farm Bureau initiated the Harvest for All program in 2009, after the country’s economy had taken a significant downturn.
“Hunger relief has always been a strong point for the Farm Bureau, and members interested in helping the community wanted to find a way to make an impact on people finding themselves in need of food,” he said.
Farmers and other agribusiness members make a pledge to set aside a percentage of their profits, the proceeds from a specific amount of acreage or the revenue from a certain number of bushels of corn. One farm donates eggs, another gives a portion of his vegetable harvest, and another grows green beans.
“As farmers, we’re in the business of producing food, and this is all about helping people who don’t have enough to eat,” said Kane County Farm Bureau President Joe White at the benefit dinner to celebrate the Farm Bureau’s 100-year anniversary.
Each farmer designates where he wants his contribution to go. The Kane County Corn Growers Association, the Elburn Coop and White, are just a few of the local individuals and organizations that donate to the Elburn Food Bank.
According to Elburn Food Pantry coordinator Rita Burnham, the Food Pantry gets its donations from individuals, organizations’ food drives, churches, local businesses, the Lions Club and others. A good portion of the money the pantry receives comes from the Kane County Farm Bureau.
“The Farm Bureau has been a huge, huge benefit to us,” Burnham said.
Burnham said that the food pantry purchases some of its food from ALDI, milk from Jewel-Osco, and other stores, depending on which ones have the best prices at the time.
Working in conjunction with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Farm Bureau is able to stretch its dollars even further to provide meals for those in need. The NIFB, with its access to food donated from grocery stores, as well as its buying power and network, has the ability to turn each dollar into six meals.